The site of the POLLARD THEATER was originally occupied by a large wooden dry goods store, built shortly after the Land Run of 1889. The current building, of brick and native stone, was constructed in 1901 as the Patterson Furniture Store. It also served as the local funeral parlor, since it was tradition for cabinet makers to also manage the town's need for coffins.
In 1919 George Pollard purchased the building and converted it into the first Pollard Theatre, featuring live vaudeville acts and silent movies. With the advent of talkies in 1929, A.R. Powell renovated the theatre for movies only, reducing the stage area, adding one of the earliest sound systems in the state, and renaming it the Melba. When the Melba closed it doors in 1984, the Guthrie Arts & Humanities Council restored the theater to its former use as a live venue, adding a 30 foot proscenium stage, raising the roof for a 14 line, double-purchase fly-rail system and renaming the venue the Pollard Theater.
The Guthrie Arts and Humanities Council was established in 1982 in order to nurture the arts and enhance tourism for historic Guthrie – the territorial and original state capital of Oklahoma. Early endeavors included a concert series at Guthrie's Scottish Rite Temple, bringing artists such as Henry Mancini, Lena Horne, Victor Borge and Luciano Pavarotti to local audiences. In 1987 the Pollard Theatre Company was formed as a partnership with nearby Langston University and when state budget cuts terminated this partnership in 2003, the Pollard board elected to continue operations on our own.
Guthrie is a center of tourism due to its wealth of restored Victorian buildings and its status as the territorial capital and first state capital of Oklahoma. Visitors come to enjoy the gift and antique shops, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, museums, entertainment, history and architecture. The Pollard serves as a major anchor of the local economy and for nearly a hundred years now has been the center of entertainment in downtown Guthrie!